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Reducing Mental Health Absence in the Workplace

There have been many occasions where people have had to take time off after catching a bug or coming down with the flu... but poor mental health in the workplace can be just as hindering to both the employee and productivity. You may find employees who come across as the picture of productivity and yet ranking up absence due to personal struggles. These are some tips you need to bear in mind when managing absence for mental health in the workplace.

Never Underestimate an Employee's Personal Difficulties

When one is struggling with mental health and can't see a way forward, there are no three words in the English language more grating than 'get over it'. Whatever is bothering them is enough to affect their personality, make them feel withdrawn and unable to feel useful. Listen to their issues with an open mind. That is the first pillar of support you can offer.

Take a Look at the Workload

If a person is struggling mentally, then this will hinder their productivity. For all you know, it could be the workload that is driving them to the edge. Talk with them about what they're doing, any difficulties they are facing and how you can manage the workload so that productivity doesn't take a dive but the employee doesn't feel swamped.

Work Through a Recovery Plan

If an employee needs time away from the workplace, then unless you want to risk them crashing and burning in the middle of the department, you will need to grant it to them. Using absence management software, try to work out how much time they will need off but try to keep a few days free. Because if their mental health issues flare up again, they will need those extra days jotted down on the recovery planner.

Let Them Know Support Is There

You could get out the staff holiday planner and mark out the employee's absence. But just because they might need a time-out doesn't mean that support isn't available at work. They spend at least 8 hours a day at work, so it stands to reason there should be a support network available. Could be a 10-minute chat with the boss or having a work buddy or someone to help offload the work, whatever works for them.

Leave of absence is a necessity when recovering from poor mental health. But through these tips, you can keep those absences to a minimum and ensure that they can come to work without the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Posted by Robin on 25 Jan, 2021 in Employer Tips